G.U.L.F. Initiates Eight MAPs Across the Gulf of Mexico

For the last two years, Audubon Nature Institute’s sustainable seafood program, Gulf United for Lasting Fisheries (G.U.L.F.), has been working with the seafood industry and management agencies in all five Gulf States on Marine Advancement Plans (MAPs). This work, commissioned by the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission, aims to provide a road map that will advance Gulf state fisheries toward greater sustainability.

At the conclusion of 2015, G.U.L.F. has benchmarked eight fisheries against the Food and Agriculture Organization Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries, an internationally recognized standard of sustainability. Benchmarking reports were completed by utilizing information from management agencies, academic institutions, and direct industry input. The results of each benchmarking report show that Gulf fisheries are currently meeting high standards of responsible management at state and federal levels and provide recommendations for each fishery on areas that could further improve sustainability of these valuable resources. The next step for G.U.L.F. is to work collaboratively with management agencies and industry members to implement recommendations provided by these reports. Some fisheries have already begun this process, resulting in Action Plans publicly available on G.U.L.F.’s website, www.AudubonGULF.org.

“We are very proud of our seafood along the Gulf Coast, ” said John Hewitt IV, Director of G.U.L.F. “It is an integral part of the economy and culture of this region, and the management agencies here do an excellent job regulating species such as crab, shrimp, and oyster, so that populations stay as healthy as possible for the enjoyment of all.”

Industry engagement is important to G.U.L.F., which is why we have traveled extensively to meet with members at multiple levels of the supply chain.  “Ultimately, we wanted fishermen and processors actively engaged in our projects, ” continued Hewitt. “It’s their industry, and we are here to act as a guide to translate what fishermen are doing on the water into the language that restaurants and retailers are looking for regarding sustainable seafood sourcing.”

G.U.L.F. is dedicated to advancing the fisheries of the Gulf of Mexico toward greater sustainability, and will continue to collaborate with industry and regional managers. Through education and outreach, Marine Advancement Plan development, and third-party assessment and certification of our fisheries, G.U.L.F. highlights what makes the region’s seafood special and encourages our fisheries to go above and beyond to meet the highest standards for responsible fisheries management.

 


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